Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Humulus lupulus, a great name, but hard to remember. No wonder it's called hops. (Planting tip for golden hops: interplant with Virginia creeper. In fall, the intertwined chartreuse and crimson leaves--dazzling. But beware: things can quickly get out of hand.)

Late June. That's when foliage is at its most lush, before the desiccating heat of summer and swarms of chewing, sap-sucking insects. The early weeds, if not already plucked, are overrun and outgrown. It's tip-top garden time.

Gingko biloba, poster-tree for living fossils.

The Ginkgo rustles in the breeze, leaves ancient and uniquely attractive. Same tree as this post, which showed the pretty fall colour and may have said a few substantive things about ginkgos.

Nasturtiums, not Nasturtium.

If you look up "Nasturtium" as a genus name, guess what? Not nasturtiums! Nasturtiums, the lively garden annuals, are in the genus Tropaeolum. Nasturtium, the genus, is a kind of water cress. The peppery flavour of the edible parts of the garden plant recalls water cress, hence the link, and the confusion.

Nasturtium, by the way, means "Nose twister." Best unsought fact of the day.


Karen said...

Nasturtiums (the garden kind) always twist my nose, I kind of don't like that honey-pepper scent coming from a flower, for some reason. Achoo!

Seabrooke said...

That is the best unsought fact of the day. Also, I had no idea they were different genera.

Hugh said...

Karen, I never thought to smell them. Now will have to.

Seabrooke, yes, it's like the Geranium-Pelargonium situation. No doubt there are others.

Karen said...

PS You can also eat them, you know. They taste as weird as they smell! I remember sucking on the "horns" that come off the back of the flower (you probably will know the name for this, I do not), there's kind of a nectar thing going on there. Never really liked the taste but found the experience too fascinating to resist - a flower you can drink!